Miami Marlins: A 30 day plan to National League relevancy

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The month of May is over. After the Miami Marlins closed the month with a strong finish, they stand to become relevant again in June.

The Miami Marlins can officially say their (hopefully) most troublesome month is in the rearview mirror. After going 10-18 in the month of May, the Fish fell to the bottom of the National League at various points throughout the month.

Finishing the month strongly has given the Marlins an opportunity to become relevant in the playoff race again. They’ll need to play well right out of the gates to have a chance, though. That means beating a number of very good teams, and finding the consistency that has eluded them all year.

Marlins opponents are a combined 211-210, a number that is deceptively pedestrian. The Fish draw several teams who are off to slow starts, but could be poised for a turnaround this month. They’ll play several teams that are likely bound for the playoffs. If they have hopes of a playoff appearance, those are the kinds of teams they’ll need to succeed against.

Finishing the month in a position to compete for the playoffs means winning every series in the month of June. A tall order, but after struggling mightly through May, it’s what they must do to compensate.

Arizona Diamondbacks (June 1st-4th)

The Diamondbacks are one of the toughest teams the Fish will play all month. They are 33-22 to start the month, and the Marlins draw them right from the get-go. Jeff Locke is making his first start of the year for the Fish to open this series.

The Marlins will need to take three-of-four here. They are at home, and playing well as winners of their last two series’. Paul Goldschmidt is swinging the most productive bat of any first baseman this year. It’s a tall order, perhaps the tallest of the entire month.

Marlins June record so far: 3-1.

Chicago Cubs (June 5th-7th)

The Miami Marlins will play on the hallowed grounds of Wrigley Field for a three game series. The Cubs haven’t had the kind of start they expected. After breaking a seemingly eternal World Series drought, the Cubbies are 25-27 to start the year.

Have no doubt, this will be a whale of a series for the Marlins. The Cubs are still one of the most talented teams in baseball. The switch will go on for them at some point. The Fish will need to take the series; two games out of three.

Marlins June record so far: 5-2

Pittsburgh Pirates (June 8th-11th)

This is the second round of games against the Pirates this season. In an earlier series, the Fish dropped two-of-three to end the month of April. They had no idea what was awaiting them in May. The travel from Chicago to Pittsburgh isn’t a long one, so the team shouldn’t be road weary at this point.

This is another important series for the Fish; a winnable four game series. The Pirates are currently 24-30, and a team competing for the same Wild Card berth as the Marlins. They get their first day off of the month following Sunday’s matinee against the Pirates, so look for a strong effort.

Marlins June record so far: 8-3

Oakland Athletics (June 13-14th)

Pinch yourself if you’ve seen this before. Following a day off, the Marlins draw the A’s for a two game series. This time, they’ll be playing at home in Marlins Park. Plainly, they Marlins need to take both games.

The Athletics are one of the weaker teams the Fish will play this month. At 23-29, they still sport a better record than the Marlins do, but they aren’t expected to show substantial improvement as the year progresses. Following this series, the Marlins get another day off before a brief road trip.

Marlins June record so far: 10-3

Atlanta Braves (June 16th- 18th)

This is another series that the Marlins need to dominate. I’ll stop short of saying that they’ll need to sweep this series, but a win is vital. A series rival, the Braves have performed above expectations to this point in the year.

They currently sit at 22-29, slightly better than the Marlins. However, the Braves are in full on rebuilding mode. If the Marlins want to make it to the playoffs this year, the Braves are the kind of team they’ll need to beat with regularity. They’ll see them several more times this year; dominance must start now.

Marlins June record so far: 12-4

Washington Nationals (June 19th- 21st)

This is the other series this month that will give the Marlins some trouble. Most have all but given up hope that anyone other than the Nationals will take home the NL East. With good reason, too. The Nationals sport a 33-19 record, and have a stable of stars all over the field.

The resurgence of Ryan Zimmerman at first base has been a huge boost. The starting rotation is as good as ever. They are a complete team and figure to go deep into the playoffs this year. Despite all of this, the Marlins will still need to take two-of-three against one of the leagues better teams.

Marlins June record so far: 14-5

Chicago Cubs (June 22nd- 25th)

The second leg of a home-and-home with the Cubs this month. This one is of the four game variety. The Cubs are just as potent as ever, and by this point in the month, have likely found their groove. With veteran leadership, they’re likely the juggernaut everyone anticipated.

Both teams will have seen each other a substantial amount by the time this series rolls around. There won’t be much surprising the other. The Marlins will have to jump on them early and often each game. Taking three-of-four against a World Series champ is as tough as it gets. But after a dismal May, it’s what they’ll have to do.

Marlins June record so far: 17-6

New York Mets (June 27th- 29)

This is the final full series of the month for the Miami Marlins. They’ll have one game left over at the end that will spill into July against the Brewers.

Coming off another day off following the Cubs series, the Marlins are a little more rested. June has been an absolute grind, but the month ends with a winnable series. The Mets have been a mess through the first two months of the year. Injuries, scandals, suspensions, they’ve had it all.

Despite a talented roster, the team has only managed a 23-28 record this season. They expected to be competing for a division title with the Nationals. That has failed to materialize. Top it off with the Marlins success against the Mets this season, and they should take this one home.

Marlins June record so far: 19-7

Heading into July

This is an admittedly optimistic outlook of the month of June. Given the way the team performed in May, they’ll need to be as good in June as they were bad in May. That means high expectations. It will certainly present a challenge for a Miami Marlins team that hasn’t addressed their starting rotation woes with any new arms.

Players will need to perform well. Justin Bour, J.T. Realmuto, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, and Giancarlo Stanton will need to continue to perform well. The core of Miami’s team is strong, they’ll need every ounce of that strength to come out of June smelling like roses.

If the Marlins are able to have this kind of success in June, they’ll be buyers at the deadline. Inconceivable to the public just two weeks ago.

Next: Marlins establish a trust fund for daughter of Jose Fernandez

The Miami Marlins record if they are able to have the above mention success in June: 40-37. That puts them over the .500 mark, and within striking distance moving late into the season.

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